The number of non-illiterate adults in Nigeria has been estimated at 50 million while the world is still home to 758 million adult illiterates with two thirds of them women.
The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Mass Literacy (NMEC), Prof. Abba Haladu, gave the figure yesterday in Abuja at the commemoration of the 50th International Literacy Day with the theme, ‘Reading the Past, Writing the Future.’
He said: “While acknowledging that tremendous progress that has been made in the fight against illiteracy in the last five decades, he said the enormity of the illiteracy situation in the country, was a constraint to achieving national sustainable development.
According to Haladu, “In Nigeria in particular, the illiteracy situation is still troubling. With an estimated figure of over 50 million adult illiterates and 11.5 million out of school children, the problem of illiteracy remains one of Nigeria’s greatest obstacles to development.
” In fact, UNESCO 2016, contends that as other regions of the world are recording progress in the fight against illiteracy, Sub-Saharan Africa, in which Nigeria has the highest number of population, is unfortunately experiencing rising absolute numbers of non-literate adults.”
Commending the determination of the federal government to upturn the unwholesome illiteracy statistics, the DG NMEC however, urged state and local governments, non governmental organisations and the organised private sector, to ensure the necessary material support needed to eradicate illiteracy was adequately provided.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, reiterated Nigeria’s commitment towards addressing the challenges of adult literacy by providing quality education for all, through the implementation of effective policies.
Represented by the Director Basic and Secondary Education, Mrs. Ann Okonkwo, he lamented that adult illiteracy would adversely affect the status of women, fertility, children’s development , economic productivity and political processes.
He, however, assured that “efforts would be made to strengthen equity and access, equality, funding, teacher quality, effective curriculum implementation, human resource development and provision of infrastructure, to equip young people and adult learners with the right knowledge and skills for global citizenship.”
Adamu further called on stakeholders to rededicate themselves and come up with new mode of operations, innovative initiatives in content and pedagogical methods, to provide sufficient and appropriate learning options for youth and adults who did not enrol in school or dropped out from school